Snoopy is one of the main protagonists of the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. He is very well known, even more well known than Charlie Brown, and may be among the most recognizable comic characters in the world. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle, and is owned and cared for by Charlie Brown, although at times it is not clear who is in charge. Snoopy is blessed with a rich, Walter Mitty-like fantasy life.
Snoopy first appeared in the October 4, 1950 strip, two days after the strip began. Schulz originally planned to call him "Sniffy", but found out that name was used in a different comic strip. He then changed the dog's name to Snoopy. The name first appeared on November 16, 1950.
In the early days, it was unclear who was the owner of Snoopy. It was not clear to be Charlie Brown. For instance, on February 2, 1951, Charlie Brown yells at Snoopy for following him, until Patty tells him that Snoopy is not following him, but simply lives in the same direction. Also, Snoopy has been shown to be on a leash with Shermy or Patty, and not Charlie Brown. However, Snoopy has also been shown in Charlie Brown's room at night, as he was going to sleep. It seemed as that point that Snoopy was an ownerless dog, which in those days, was not uncommon for a dog to play with children before returning to their homes. As the years went by, Snoopy began to interact with Charlie Brown more often than the other children. It is eventually shown that Snoopy's doghouse is in Charlie Brown's backyard, and Charlie Brown is responsible for feeding him. It is eventually confirmed that Snoopy is the owner, when Charlie Brown says that his parents bought Snoopy for him, when he was upset, after a boy dumped a bucket of sand on him in a sandbox.
Snoopy is a genuinely happy dog. A running gag within the strip is that he does a "happy dance", which annoys Lucy because she believes that nobody can ever be that happy. However, Snoopy just thinks Lucy is jealous because she is not capable of being as happy as he is. The only thing that upsets him is a lack of supper. Snoopy, being a dog, has a strong hatred of cats, often making rude remarks to the cat next door (Who usually attacks him and destroys his doghouse) and in one series of strips wrote stories in a magazine which basically just pointed out that cats were stupider and inferior to dogs. However, Snoopy has on occasion tried to be nice to the cat next door, but their relationship always remains antagonistic.
Snoopy also loves sleeping, and being lazy - a trait which often annoys Frieda. Snoopy often lies on top of his doghouse and sleeps, sometimes all day long. In one strip, Charlie Brown refers to him as a "hunting dog", because he always hunts for the easy way out of life.
In the very early years of Peanuts, Snoopy behaved much like an average, everyday pet. Gradually, however, he became more like a human than a dog. Snoopy was a silent character during the first two years in the strip, but he eventually verbalized his thoughts to readers for the first time (in a thought balloon) on May 27, 1952.
Schulz once said that the best idea he ever had in the strip was to move Snoopy from inside his doghouse to the rooftop. Preceding that, there was a gradual evolution of the character - from something much like an actual, real-life dog to an anthropomorphic character, resembling that of typical cartoon animals.